5 Mistakes to Avoid During IVF

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I often get emails and messages from women asking me for tips on IVF. After going through three IVF cycles, I consider myself an IVF pro. I was recently reflecting on some of the IVF mistakes I made, especially during my first cycle. I thought it would be helpful if I compiled them here so you won’t make the same ones!

Over-extending yourself

One of the most challenging parts of IVF for me was the scheduling. All the trips to the lab for blood tests and the doctor’s office for monitoring really add up. Add a couple trips to the pharmacy for extra meds (or Fed Ex for pick-ups), and you’ve added several hours to your week, or even your day!

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Things can get even more crazy if you want to go to acupuncture, a support group, or counseling. A lot of your appointments may be last-minute, and it will be hard to schedule them in advance. Plus, giving yourself all your injections and medications can take awhile until you get the hang of it. So do yourself a favor and clear your schedule of all non-essential commitments before you start your cycle.

Forgetting to rest

IVF makes you tired. I’ve battled fatigue during both my fresh cycles and my frozen cycle. In addition to reducing your commitments, you’ll want to intentionally find ways to help yourself rest and relax. Have a nice dinner with your spouse, watch a fun movie, or do something enjoyable and low-key.

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Spending too much time on Google

I love the internet and I hate the internet. The amount of information available to us is both incredible and maddening. It’s so easy to compare your cycle’s progress and your body’s symptoms to everyone else’s. But comparisons are useless. Resist the temptation to predict or diagnose via Google.  If you have a question that you really need answered, talk to your doctor instead.

Being unorganized

Keeping track of your medications and their dosages is vital for IVF success. You don’t want the added stress of running out of medication and trying to get refills on short notice. I highly recommend you make an inventory of all your medications and supplies. Try to update it at least every other day so you can get your refills stress-free.

After you’ve made your inventory, you need to make sure you don’t forget to take the doses at the correct times. Many clinics will give their patients detailed schedules. If your clinic doesn’t automatically give you one, don’t feel bad about asking them to create one for you. You are paying them a lot of money, and they should be more than happy to give you detailed instructions about the timing of your meds.

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Once you have your schedule, write them all down on a calendar and set a timer on your phone. You can also use an app like Naula to organize everything.

Not documenting your journey

You might not think that you’ll want to remember your IVF experience, but I think it’s important to document it somehow. You don’t have to go as far as starting your own blog or Instagram account; you can journal (I’ve heard that The IVF Journal by Stephanie Fry is great), type up your notes, take photos, or make a collage.

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Whatever you do, it has the potential to be a creative outlet and it may come in handy as a reference if you do future cycles. The most compelling reason, however, is that if you have a successful pregnancy you’ll be able to show it to your child one day.

Want more tips surviving IVF?  Check out my mini-course, Preparing for IVF: Approaching Your IVF With Confidence and Courage.  

 

 

 

All photos are courtesy of UnSplash, used under Creative Commons Zero License.

10 Things You Might Not Know About Me

This post contains affiliate links.  You can read my full disclosure here.

 

 

Infertility bloggers share a lot of private things about ourselves.  I’ve told you about my menstrual cycles, my marriage, my faith, and our three IVF cycles.  With all those serious topics, things can get a little somber around here sometimes.  So each year for the past two years, I’ve published a post sharing some random facts about myself.  It’s fun for me to write and I hope it’s fun for you to read.  (Be sure to read the 2016 and 2015 posts if you weren’t reading my blog back then!)

 

1.  I don’t drink coffee.  I love the smell of coffee brewing, but I cannot stand the taste.  I get my caffeine fix from tea.  I usually have a cup of hot tea in the morning, in the afternoon, and a cup of decaf or herbal tea at night.  One of my all-time favorites is Tazo Apricot Vanilla Creme (my grocery store doesn’t alway carry them, so I buy ALL.THE.BOXES when they’re on sale), but lately I’ve been enjoying Heath and Heather Green Tea with Coconut (I discovered it at Marshall’s).

 

 

2.  My favorite color is purple.  I keep my clothing color choices pretty neutral and basic, but I will ALWAYS buy purple if that’s an option.  My wedding color was purple, and I bought a purple bedspread when Tom and I first got married (much to his dismay)!

 

 

3.  My latest guilty pleasure is Velvet.  No, not the cloth.  In my last “10 Things” update, I wrote about how I was watching Gran Hotel, a Spanish drama, on Netflix.  Well, I finished the series literally HOURS before they pulled it off Netflix, but now I’m obsessed with another Spanish series: Velvet! If you like beautiful costuming, cheesy-yet-addicting storylines, and beautiful Spaniards, this is the show for you!
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 4.  I don’t like scary movies.  There are two reasons why I just can’t watch.  First of all, I’ll think about them for weeks afterwards and lose sleep over it.  Second, I can’t stand “jump scenes.”  You know, where something jumps out suddenly and makes you leap out of your seat.  If I even suspect that’s going to happen, I cover my ears so I can’t hear it.  In college, my roommates and I went to see the re-release of The Exorcist.  (We thought that since it was from the 70s it would be more funny than scary.  We were wrong.  We walked out of the theatre before it was over and spent the entire car ride home singing Jesus Loves Me).  Since then, I haven’t been able to see any scary movies because I end up thinking about them for days afterwards and scaring myself at night.

 

5.  I rarely read fiction.  I used to be a librarian, so this is like my dirty little secret.  I read a ton of fiction when I was a kid, but as I got older, I started to prefer biographies, history, and memoirs instead.  I read maybe one or two fiction books a year, and it’s usually a young adult fiction book.  And no, I haven’t read Harry Potter.  I think the last fiction book I read was Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.

 6.  I broke my brother’s arm.  When I was 6 years old, my 2 year- old brother and I were sitting and playing in a large laundry basket.  Our dad wasn’t home and our mom was in the shower.  I tried to get out of the basket and somehow ended up flipping it over with my brother still in it.  I still remember his screams as I ran to tell my mom.  The poor guy spent a few weeks in a cast.  He’s 31 years old now and loves to tease me about it!

 

7.  My least favorite chore is cleaning the shower.  Ugh.  We have one of those showers with a plastic, textured floor.  No matter how hard or how often I scrub, it never gets clean.  Also, our bathroom doesn’t have a window and the exhaust fan doesn’t work well, so mildew grows very fast.  We’re blessed to have a lady who comes to clean the bathrooms every other week, and things get pretty bad when she goes on vacation or gets sick!

 

8.  I’m a HSP (highly sensitive person).  Yes, this is a thing.  People with this personality trait process are more sensitive to stimuli and process things a little differently.  There’s a great book and website about it.

 9.  My favorite non-fertility blog is Modern Mrs. Darcy.  I love the mix of fun and informative articles on Anne Bogel’s blog.  She’s a voracious reader and I’m really impressed by her reviews and reading lists.

 

 

10.  I can’t drive a stick shift (or parallel park to save my life).  A friend tried to teach me how to drive a stick in high school and it was a disaster.  I haven’t tried since.  My parallel parking skills improved out of necessity while I lived in Los Angeles during college, but now that I’ve been back in suburbia I will park farther away to avoid having to parallel park.  My husband, on the other hand, can practically parallel park with his eyes closed!

 

What about you?  I’d love to hear some random facts about you!  Feel free to comment below.

Some Updates

It’s been awhile since I posted some personal updates, so I wanted to do so today!

New Look for the Blog

You may have noticed the blog looks a bit different recently.  A few days after Christmas, I had some technical difficulties with the blog that caused me to lose the design.  At first, I freaked out because it looked like I was going to lose hours of work.  But then, I decided I liked the way it looked without al the colors and backgrounds.  So, I decided to keep it as it currently is.  There are a few things I will tweak here or there when I have the time, but I think you’ll agree that the new look is cleaner and makes it easier focus on the content of the post.

Our daughter

Out of respect for those of you who are still in the infertility trenches, I don’t often post about our successful IVF in 2015 and our daughter, CJ.  I know that reading about other’s pregnancies and babies can bring complicated and mixed feelings, so I completely understand if you’d rather skip this part.

CJ just turned one year old and is healthy and happy.  She started walking one day before her first birthday and loves to chase our cat around.  We celebrated with a small family party.  We don’t post many pictures of her online, but if you’d like to see our 2016 family portrait, you can head over to my personal blog and read my recent update there.

Plans for IVF in 2017

Those of you who have been reading for awhile may remember that we have several frozen embryos from the cycle that brought us CJ.   Our plan has always been to use those to try for baby #2.  Right now, we are tentatively planning on doing a FET somewhere near the end of 2017.

The biggest decision we have to make regarding the FET is where to do it.  We absolutely love our doctor and the clinic that gave us CJ.  They treated us with such kindness and professionalism and they are located ten minutes from our house.  However, I am very interested in exploring the possibility of doing a natural FET, and my current doctor does not do them.

I know that there are many studies that say IVF doesn’t contribute to higher rates of cancer in the woman.  I generally trust those studies.  I don’t necessarily believe that IVF is harmful, but I also don’t see how all the hormones can be healthy or helpful.  I know there is controversy about the success rates of natural FETs, but I still want to at least explore the idea.

Back in September, I had the privilege of touring the IVF labs at Stanford Fertility and Reproductive Health Services when I attended the Fertility IQ Basecamp.  I was so impressed with their facility and my interested was piqued when I heard they perform natural FETs there.  It would be a bit of a drive for us, but I think it might be worth it if the doctors determine I’m a good candidate for a natural FET.


Nothing is set in stone yet.  I still need to talk to both my current RE and the people at Stanford.  Of course, I’ll keep you updated as we make a decision this year!

A Year of Freebies

Finally, if you don’t already subscribe to my newsletter, make sure you sign up to receive it.  Each month in 2017, I’m creating and giving away downloadable freebies that are exclusive to the email list.  They won’t be available on the blog.  You’re automatically added to the newsletter list if you download my free prayer calendar printable.  Or, you can just sign up here!